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“Spirit of Mount Vernon” Industry Heritage Dinner and Rare Auction Raises $340,000 for Historic Mount Vernon and Wounded Warriors Family Support Program

October 15, 2012 By: Nightclub & Bar


The Distilled Spirits Council’s 11th annual “Spirit of Mount Vernon” heritage dinner and rare spirits auction held last night on the lawn of Mount Vernon raised $240,000 for the new Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington and $100,000 for the Wounded Warrior Family Support Program.  This brings the grand total for the history of this event to over $3 million.

“The spirits industry has been honored to support Mount Vernon education programs over the past decade and to help ensure that all Americans recognize our Founding Father as both a great leader and an entrepreneur,” said Peter Cressy, President and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council, which sponsored the gala. “He was not only a great General but also a successful distiller.”

During the live auction, one of the last bottles of George Washington Rye from the first-ever batch produced at Mount Vernon in 200 years sold for $27,000.   Made from Washington’s actual recipe on an 18th Century style pot still, this handcrafted straight rye whiskey was produced at the George Washington Distillery in 2003 by a team of Master Distillers from America’s greatest whiskey brands.

Also sold at auction were bottles #1 and #2 of the limited edition George Washington Peach Brandy, which went for $17,000.  This one-time only colonial-style Peach Brandy was produced in October 2010 at the George Washington Distillery by a team of America’s top craft distillers from California, Indiana, Kentucky, New York and Virginia.  After aging, there will be less than 500 bottles of this rare Peach Brandy for sale. 

The gala dinner was attended by over 650 guests including industry leaders, Ambassadors, government officials and the media.  Co-sponsors included the American Bankers Association, International Dairy Foods Association, National Restaurant Association, National Retail Federation and Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America.

George Washington Spirits Society Inductees Honored:

During the event three new members were inducted into the George Washington Spirits Society.  The 2012 inductees include: Richard Leventhal, Robert M. Selby and James C. Rees IV.

“The George Washington Spirits Society exists to celebrate, manifest and uphold the noble traits and high standards exhibited by our Founding Father,” said Distilled Spirits Council President Peter H. Cressy.  “The spirits industry is honored to celebrate the outstanding contributions of these three exemplary leaders who have each in their own way helped to enrich and inspire their communities, the spirits industry and the country.” 

Mr. Richard Leventhal
Richard Leventhal, long-time Chairman and CEO of Fedway Associates, has distinguished himself by his extraordinary service to his community and state, as well as by his effective leadership in the beverage alcohol industry.  He is a supporter of all levels of education, both public and private.  He has endowed a scholarship at the University of Chicago, provided challenge grants for local public schools, and led a major capital campaign for a local private school.  Mr. Leventhal has been active on numerous charitable boards, serving on many as both Chair or Vice Chair.  His extensive philanthropic efforts include generous support of the Make-a-Wish Foundation, United Jewish Appeal, Jewish Home for the Aged and Israel Bond Campaign, among many others.

Mr. Robert M. Selby
Robert M. Selby has distinguished himself by his remarkable service to his community and the state of Massachusetts, as well as by his dedicated leadership in the beverage alcohol industry.  He is the President and CEO of Kappy’s Fine Wine and Spirits, is past Chairman of the Wine and Spirits Guild and a past Vice President of the Massachusetts Package Stores Association.  A truly outstanding philanthropist and volunteer, Mr. Selby has been a major fundraiser for and contributor to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, United Jewish Appeal and Catholic Charities among others.  He has also served on numerous civic and charitable boards and has chaired several.

Mr. James C. Rees IV
James C. Rees IV, President and CEO of Historic Mount Vernon for 18 years, has distinguished himself by his extraordinary service to his country and by successfully educating the American people regarding the importance of George Washington and his value to our great country and its democratic ideals.  His dedication, leadership and devotion to historical accuracy have ensured the exacting restoration of George Washington’s Estate, including the reconstruction of George Washington Distillery & Gristmill.  As president, Rees successfully oversaw the fundraising for more than a quarter billion dollars of projects designed to bring George Washington into the national spotlight.   Mr. Rees’ bold vision and determination led to the development and opening of the cutting-edge Ford Orientation and Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center and the $100 million Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, set to open fall 2013.

“Guardian of His Spirit”

Each honoree was inducted as a “Guardian of His Spirit.”  Honorees were selected by the Board of Trustees of the George Washington Spirits Society, which is comprised of representatives of America’s leading distillers and Historic Mount Vernon.

Previous inductees of the “George Washington Spirits Society” include: Ambassador W. L. Lyons Brown, Jr.; General Alfred M. Gray, USMC (ret.); A. Raymond Tye; Charles Bailes, Jr.; Harvey R. Chaplin; The Honorable Jim Bunning; Herman R. Merinoff; Harold A. “Hal” Gershman; Bill Samuels, Jr.; The Honorable Tommy Thompson; The Honorable Ron Lewis; Judge Ruth Sussman (posthumously); Raymond Herrmann; Paul S. Walsh; Marvin R. Shanken; William Goldring; Sidney E. Frank (posthumously); The Honorable James E. Clyburn; Baroness Jean Coussins; Thomas J. Donohue; Robert Epstein; William Wirtz (posthumously); The Honorable Tom Harkin; The Honorable Frank Keating; Patrick Ricard; Esther Vassar; Bennett Glazer; The Honorable Shelley Berkley; Red Cavaney; The Honorable John E. Jones III; Vern Underwood, Jr.; Apolo Ohno; James L. Bareuther; Jeff Becker (posthumously); The Honorable John Yarmuth; The Honorable Harold D. Rogers; The Honorable Dan A. Gwadosky (posthumously); and Douglas J. Hertz.


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